Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: On benefit fraud

103 Responses

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  • Roland Askew, in reply to Emma Hart,

    It's possible they never considered.

    Anecdotal word is, when ms Ruthanasia herself wanted minimum subsistence levels measured for benefits and was told of the findings, she said "cut them by 25%, that will get more people into work!" And they were, and despite recent rises in some benefit levels they've never returned to that minimum level.

    Additionally, the effective inflation for people earning low incomes has been around twice the average inflation rate, meaning the recent benefit rises actually made no real gain in reaching adequate subsistence levels.

    To my knowledge the Invalids Benefit, which I receive, has had no effective increase, and has been adjusted at the average inflation, so now some welfare recipients with disabilities are living at least 30% below what they need to subsist (and many need more than that for medical costs).

    Auckland • Since Dec 2015 • 3 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Sacha,

    “I never lied to them as such”.

    Skating on thinner ice by the day.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Roland Askew,

    Anecdotal word is

    Oh, there's evidence beyond that. No shame.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19565 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Moz,

    I have heard allegations she was receiving undeclared income from a rental property.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19565 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Sacha,

    I have heard allegations she was receiving undeclared income from a rental property.

    Now, I don’t know if this is true or not. But let’s assume it is. The thing is this is how the NZ economy operates in the real world. Cash job discount here, a little bit of undeclared income there, let’s not mention the boarders over here or the barter off the books. And the reason it operates that way is because for thirty years governments of both stripes have successfully driven wages and benefits down. To stay afloat through tough times millions of NZer’s have turned to the black economy and become sharp practitioners and/or minor fraudsters against the state. The middle class single income and a bit of overtime Dad with Mum at home world of the early 1980s has been replaced by middle class dual incomes and a converted garage granny flat paying cash rent, just to maintain a middle class standard of living – and even then, we’ve relied on the exploitation of slave wage labour offshore to drive down the prices of the things the middle class like to have. The dole and the DPB etc etc are now weaponised tools of humiliation and oppression designed to strip people of their dignity and keep them in grinding poverty. That undeclared boarder paying $150 a week most likely is what keeps all your kid’s school fees paid.

    The problem with the likes of that hyper-arsehole Farrar and the rest of the pompous pricks who sit high and mighty in judgment is they are fat and sleek from the winnings of being on the bosses side of neoliberalism. They’ve allowed themselves to be persuaded that the bullshit from the bankers and crackpot economists like Eric Crampton at places like the New Zealand institute about our economy is the truth.

    More than anything, the trials of Turei and Bennett – about the only two MPs who experienced welfare post Richardson – is an unwelcome intrusion of reality into the rarified income strata of the ruling elites. Of the two of them, one took the lesson and vowed to try and make sure no one else was ever in her position. The other one turned into a class traitor who kicks the down and outs as a way to assuage her sense of humiliation. I guess that is about the right ratio for that sort of thing as well.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2202 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Sacha,

    I have heard allegations she was receiving undeclared income from a rental property.

    That phrasing is marvellous!

    The easy implication is that she owned a rental property and wasn't declaring it or the income. In reality she likely had a housemate and didn't declare their rent payments.

    But hearing that it feels as though she's a fat cat... especially now when we know that most MPs own rental properties. We're not thinking "20 years ago she was a poor solo mother" we're being encouraged to feel "she's a rich MP on the telly, and she screwed us". Because people vote their feelings, not their carefully considered, soundly researched logical conclusions.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1128 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Moz,

    We’re not thinking “20 years ago she was a poor solo mother” we’re being encouraged to feel “she’s a rich MP on the telly, and she screwed us”. Because people vote their feelings, not their carefully considered, soundly researched logical conclusions.

    That would depend which of the two MPs that we currently talking about, and who’s doing the encouraging.

    I’ve moved away from to much carefully considered policy’s in favour of voting according to how I feel about the people I’m voting for. That doesn’t mean I’m not using my bullshit detector.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4043 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to steven crawford,

    I'm not in a position to vote my feelings on anyone, never have been. Two main reasons: I'm quite misanthropic and judgemental, so the overwhelming majority of people seem like arseholes to me. Secondly, I grew up knowing politicians and political people. I've hung out with people from Bill Rowling to David Farrar (and, to my credit, killed none of them). Even Mike Ward irritates me, despite liking him in general and agreeing with his politics 99% of the time. But hanging out with them doesn't make me think "wow, these people are moral paragons full of good ideas and wisdom", on the contrary it generally fills me with rage and a desire to either run away or punch them.

    So voting my feelings about politicians would result in another ballot with "I hope you all die in a fire" written on it. That's not the best outcome, and not even the "least worst" outcome.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1128 posts Report Reply

  • Warren Doney, in reply to Shane Le Brun,

    I feel it with the Bitcoin too. Someone asked what I wish I knew 5 years ago, and I did the research. I console myself by thinking I probably would have had it all in Mt Gox :)

    Auckland • Since May 2017 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Moz,

    I don’t have as much of that about politicians. Getting good feelings about there leadership suitability, needs understanding and agreeing with there politics, for sure. But that alone isn’t enough. Trusting there authenticity, are feelings that come from much greater brain power.

    And no, I’m not experimenting by micro dosing myself with LSD:-)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4043 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Moz,

    In reality she likely had a housemate and didn't declare their rent payments.

    It would be interesting if both got in trouble for the same thing. This passage survived some rapid redacting of a Fairfax article this morning shortly after initial publication:

    Another truckie, Rex Howie, says he knew Bennett and her then boyfriend, truck driver Alan Philps, or "Philpsy", who'd helped to set up the tattoo club.

    Bennett re-connected with Philps later in life and they married in 2012.

    The pair were living together at a place in Lake Tutira, 40km north of Napier, Howie says, and Bennett also rented a place in Wellesley Rd, Napier.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19565 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Metiria Turei interview clip from Q&A (12 mins).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19565 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Sacha,

    Thanks for the link Sacha. What do you think?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4043 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    All this nostalgic conversation about the early 90s. Life seems so uncomplicated back then. The obvious difference now is the price of accommodation. And the crazy wealth some people have obtained by doing absolutely nothing but owning realestate, or inheriting it. I notice a sort of swagger some people have when I visit the supermarket down the bottom of college hill. It’s a sort of confidence that says I’m doing ok, l’m in the bubble. It’s a bit like what I viewed of the big American city’s when I went on my big OE three or four years back.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4043 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to steven crawford,

    I notice a sort of swagger some people have when I visit the supermarket down the bottom of college hill. It's a sort of confidence that says I'm doing ok, l'm in the bubble.

    Eastern suburbs have that vibe when I venture there. Two nations.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19565 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Sacha,

    I know, it's pretty sad stuff. We don't have too much of it in Wellington. The disparity is more educational.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4043 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens, in reply to Sacha,

    Eastern suburbs have that vibe when I venture there. Two nations.

    It is the culture shift that occurs when you have massive inequality. Perfectly nice middle class Chileans know nothing and care even less for the people who live in the slums of Santiago, beyond seeing them as an irritant that entails much higher security measures.

    The rich white Castelano population of Venezuela didn't give a shit about the poor there either.

    We have to accept tat this culture shift has occurred here as well. It is why the poor are now invisible, why the media treats low income/poor NZ as a foreign country and why Mike Hoskings can live with 250,000 children growing up in poverty.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2202 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Sacha,

    Metiria Turei

    She comes across as genuine, more so than the likes S Joyce, W Peters or P Bennett

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1715 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Sacha,

    rapid redacting

    Fascinating, the media minders sped into action. Any recollection of what was redacted?

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen,

    "Metiria Turei campaigned for political parties but didn't work while lying to Winz"

    Perhaps it was just the clickbait headline, but the comments below this Stuff article seem like a coordinated up-voting campaign in action. Troops mobilised for the election campaign - on one side at least.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 253 posts Report Reply

  • simon g, in reply to st ephen,

    "It's now been revealed ... " says Stuff.

    Shame on Turei, keeping her election candidacy secret. From everyone except ... well, everyone.

    Investigative journalism at its finest. Next Stuff scoop: Andrew Little confesses to union activism. Why weren't we told?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1270 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to st ephen,

    Perhaps it was just the clickbait headline, but the comments below this Stuff article seem like a coordinated up-voting campaign in action. Troops mobilised for the election campaign - on one side at least.

    There are no comments on the post now.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2909 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    FTA

    Prime Minister Bill English said he disagreed with politicians "essentially advocating breaking the law".

    I don't think admitting you've done something is advocating for others to do it. Recognising that people are forced into such situations is not endorsement. And, if this is honestly Bill's view, why is he so reticent about Todd Barclay? Or his attempt to bury the illegal surveillance of Dotcom? Hypocrit.

    "Of course people make mistakes, they inadvertently break the law, they do it under pressure. It's the job of the police and then the justice system to take account of those circumstances because life's a bit messy, it's not always black and white."

    No shit, Sherlock

    "But Ms Turei just seems to be getting a bit disconnected from the normal assumptions we make that people should keep the law and if they don't like the law they set out to change it," he said.

    No. She admits that she broke the law, she's prepared to make reparations if required, she spoke up voluntarily without someone else going to the media to raise the issue, then lying about it until forced to concede that you had actually acted illegally, then dunning the public for 10s of thousands of dollars because it would be inconvenient for your party if your vote was to disappear. If we weigh what 23 year-old Metiria did against what 23 year-old Todd did, then Toddy-boy's illegality is costing the taxpayer a hell of a lot more.

    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley said members of Parliament had "certain obligations" and while there's laws people don't agree with it doesn't mean people "shouldn't abide by those laws

    I look forward to Tolley requesting that the Speaker bar Barclay from the Chamber #tui . Also, Metiria Turei was not a member of Parliament when the offense occured; Todd Barclay very much was.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2909 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    It’s very tough on a benefit and I have a great deal of sympathy and respect for those who don’t have much education, have chaotic lives and don’t have the out of a legal professional future but still maintain honest relations with people.

    Since Nov 2016 • 263 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    If I was a sociologist politician, I would try to counter the argument that hard working tax payers are supporting the unemployed, unable to work, those who didn’t successfully climb the property ladder or just get lucky. I would be constantly pointing out that hard working kiwis, ( that’s lower middle class and working class kiwis ). The hard working tax paying kiwis are just one redundancy, sickness or work place bullying into the nearest Winz office.

    I’d also use my air time to point out that hard working average and some times ignorant tax payers don’t all pay for everything. A huge part of our government coffers comes from mineral exploitation, fisheries and even electricity to smelt aluminium. There are thousands of hectares of land that generate tax take, that has less to do with hard work by individuals, than universal sacrifice down stream. The loss of natural environment, fishery and biodiversity is shared. The profits not so much. There is such a thing as a god given right to a fare cut of the cake.

    People who claim the benefit, are doing just that. They are claiming what is rightfully there’s. I don’t need to claim a benefit at this stage of my life, but if in the future I need to, I’m not going to apologise.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4043 posts Report Reply

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